High Court had ordered clean-up within 10 days
The district administration launched a “Clean Pampa” drive at Pampa on Sunday with the Kerala High Court ordering a clean-up in 10 days.
The Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will be opened on Monday for the 10-day annual festival beginning Tuesday and the Arat ceremony will be held in the river on April 5.
The cleaning drive, launched in association with the Mata Amrithanandamayi Math, has been taken up following the High Court directive.
As reported in The Hindu , by the end of the Makaravilakku festival on January 20, the riverbed was covered in stinking waste, including human waste and pieces of cloth discarded by the returning pilgrims.
Taking serious note of the situation, a Division Bench, comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice C.T. Ravikumar, directed the Water Resources Department on Wednesday to take immediate steps for the removal and safe disposal of the waste and to ensure free flow in the river in 10 days.
Tonnes of waste
On a request from District Collector P. Venugopal, the math deployed 175 volunteers, including 30 foreigners. Tonnes of cloth and human waste accumulated downstream of the Arat Kadavu of the river were removed.
Additional District Magistrate H. Salimraj convened a meeting of the district-level heads of government departments at Pampa in the forenoon.
The District Collector said Swami Amrithaswaroopananda Puri, vice-chairman of the math, had offered support to the administration in keeping the pilgrim centre clean. Gurudas Chaitanya and Yogamrutha Chaitanya of the math were supervising the cleaning drive, which was expected to be completed by the afternoon of Monday.
The Water Resources Department has provided an earthmover and tractor for shifting the waste.
Though the Travancore Devaswom Board had awarded a contract for removing the waste at Rs.30 lakh, effective implementation of the work had not been ensured.
Cross Posted from The Hindu